3 Lies of a Busy Life

It really crept up on me. Like a slow virus overtaking me from the inside, I found myself answering "I'm good! BUSY, but good!" I almost couldn't avoid it. People were always asking me: How do you get it all done? Do you ever sleep? Wow, you're busy!

I would brush it off; tell them I get a lot of sleep, I'm just good at being productive, I really don't do that much. But it felt really weird--like I was doing something wrong.

Shouldn't I be busy? If I'm not busy, is there something wrong with me?

I began to internalize this belief that I must express that I'm busy or people will think my life is so "good" because I'm a lazy sloth who hangs around at home all day. (Gasp! I really am sometimes!)

But then I saw an image on Facebook that said...

Stop the glorification of busy. 

Man, was I busted! I was living like all the "stuff" in my life was who I am. I was treating my to-do's like it was my identity.

In our always connected, always on-the-go culture, it's too easy to get caught up in the lies of busyness.

3 Lies of a Busy Life

1. The busier you are, the more you are accomplishing.

I saw this funny illustration on Facebook a while back and it has stuck with me ever since. I don't know where it originated from, but it is targeted at the "aging" generation. Oddly enough, all you need to do is throw in a couple kids to the story and you've pretty much described a mom's day...

"Recently, I was diagnosed with A.A.A.D.D. Age Activated Attention Deficit Disorder. This is how it manifests:

I decided to wash my car. As I start toward the garage, I notice that there is mail on the hall table. I decide to go through the mail before I wash the car. I lay my car keys down on the table, put the junk mail in the trashcan under the table, and notice that the trashcan is full.

So, I decide to put the bills back on the table and take out the trash first. But then I think, since I'm going to be near the mailbox when I take out the trash anyway, I may as well pay the bills first.

I take my checkbook off the table, and see that there is only one check left. My extra checks are in my desk in the study, so I go to my desk where I find the bottle of coke that I had been drinking.

I'm going to look for my checks, but first I need to push the coke aside so that I don't accidentally knock it over. I see that the coke is getting warm, and I decide I should put it in the refrigerator to keep it cold.

As I head toward the kitchen with the coke, a vase of flowers on the counter catches my eye--they need to be watered. I set the coke down on the counter, and I discover my reading glasses that I've been searching for all morning.

I decide I better put them back on my desk, but first I'm going to water the flowers. I set the glasses back down on the counter, fill a container with water and suddenly I spot the TV remote. Someone left it on the kitchen table. I realize that tonight when we go to watch TV, we will be looking for the remote, but nobody will remember that it's on the kitchen table, so I decide to put it back in the den where it belongs, but first I'll water the flowers.

I splash some water on the flowers, but most of it spills on the floor. So, I set the remote back down on the table, get some towels and wipe up the spill.

Then I head down the hall trying to remember what I was planning to do.

At the end of the day: the car isn't washed, the bills aren't paid, there is a warm bottle of coke sitting on the counter, the flowers aren't watered, there is still only one check in my checkbook, I can't find the remote, I can't find my glasses, and I don't remember what I did with the car keys.

Then when I try to figure out why nothing got done today, I'm really baffled because I know I was busy all day long, and I'm really tired. I realize this is a serious problem, and I'll try to get some help for it, but first I'll check my e-mail."

This can easily describe my day if I'm not intentional about it. But even worse than that, this type of busyness can begin to define me and become my default day.

Busyness is a terrible indicator for productivity and an even worse indicator for determining your success in life or business.

2. If you're busy, you're successful.

In the previous illustration, it's pretty clear that was not a successful day. None of the tasks were completed. It wasn't productive.

But even if you had a productive day, would that automatically make it "successful?"

To determine whether or not you are successful, you need to first define what success is for you. Is it keeping your house clean? Spending time playing with your kids? Making $50? Teaching your child a new sight word? Having dinner made and a smile on your face when your husband gets home?

In my own mind I'm thinking, "YES! Success is doing ALL of that, EVERY day!" But in reality, that just isn't going to happen. I could try to do all that but it would likely end up in a half a dozen unsuccessful, incomplete tasks.

At an administration training I went to a few years ago, I learned a new type of "to-do" list. You list 3 "A" tasks and 3 "B" tasks. The "A" tasks are the regular, daily tasks that have to get done. For example, homeschooling with Emery, making dinner, keeping my kids alive. the "B" tasks are the 3 items that I am going to commit to get done; when these tasks are completed, my day is a success.

These "B" tasks can be anything from calling your doctor to make an appointment, showering, getting groceries, or cleaning your closet. It doesn't really matter what they are as long as they are important to you for that day.

It doesn't matter how busy you are if you're not getting anything of importance accomplished!

3. Busyness is a measure of importance.

This is where we see the "glorification of busy" in our society. We think that living a busy life automatically makes us important and valuable. It becomes something we praise--something we even strive towards. But busyness is not a measure of our worthiness.

If we really give it some thought, it's usually not the "busy" people we look up to and admire. It's the people who are intentional about their time and choose wisely when it comes to what they do. They spend their time doing the important stuff, not trying to be important.

When we start to get caught up in the busyness mentality, we need to take some time to be still and make sure we're living the life God wants us to live. We should be glorifying God with our schedule, not striving for busyness.

Do you find yourself evaluating your worth or success on how busy your schedule is?